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Every year with “Wings for Wheels” (http://w4w.lv/en/par-mums/) we organize camp “Challenge” to encourage people with mobile disabilities. We also help them come out of their homes (because in Latvia it is still quite challenging for many people with disabilities) and most important to lead them to Christ. Because only He can forgive their sins, give them eternal life and true identity. Beside those important goals there are several more:

1. To offer opportunities to people with disability by the help of creative and physical activities in order for them to find and enhance the limits of their skills and possibilities, and to allow them to acknowledge and build their self-worth.
2. To promote the integration of people with disability within the society by motivating them to become active members of society.
3. To promote the meaning of healthy lifestyle and individually appropriate physical activities.
4. To learn Christian foundational values through various activities.

This year camp “Challenge” happened from July 2 till July 8. The week included all the parts Challenge is known and loved for: interesting lectures, fun sports activities and workshops, the opportunity to get a haircut, visit a physiotherapist and consult a orthosis & prothesis specialist for free and of course the Extreme Day. On the request of last year’s participants, we heard lectures on the reasons behind having no friends, whether it is possible to be single and happy, the evidence of Jesus’ resurrection and God’s calling for our lives. The workshops gave everybody a chance to try out line dancing, learn more about etiquette and make a lovely photo frame as a keepsake. In addition, we travelled to Brazil with the help of our imaginations and some Brazilian friends, were encouraged to push our limits in sports and enjoyed a concert by the popular Latvian band My Radiant You.

The Extreme Day (short video about it you can see here: https://vimeo.com/228361224) with its raft ride also gave a chance for callenging people phisically and their thinking, because many people believed that it is not possible and they will never experience something like this. After the first challenge of getting on the raft from a very steep river bank –wheelchairs and all –, we were rewarded with a beautiful ride on the Gauja river in nice summer weather. But that was not it – after coming on shore again we had a four-kilometre hike on gravel and sand before reaching our final destination, the zoo where we met and petted camels, alpacas and llamas. A campfire with lots of good food and testimonies about God’s works was the perfect ending to the day full of joy, excitement and surprising ourselves.

The camp had a good prejudice-shattering effect on people both with and without disabilities. One of the earlier participants testified about how the first Challenge camp he attended radically changed his view on Christians and led him to trusting his life to Jesus. Another participant shared her surprise over the realisation that in this camp, people actually care when they ask you how you are doing. One participant’s mother admitted that before the camp, she did not imagine people with disabilities could have such joy in their lives and sometimes even seem happier than people without. Another lady who took part for the first time said she had never experienced such genuine care in any church. Perhaps this is the challenge we should take to our home churches with us – how to really notice eveybody’s needs and respond to them in God’s love in our everyday life. And During the week, five people decided to join the family and give their lives to Jesus. It is so great to see how God can change identities and lives of people, give them value.

And now one of the participants in a camp who before several year trusted his life to Christ have a calling in a future to go and to proclaim Gospel in Africa! We can just praise the Lord for His works! 😊

Article prepared by using some information also published in “Wings for Wheels” oficial website www.w4w.lv
Baiba Baikovska

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